wooden movement circa 1830 verge problem

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by time is money, Dec 19, 2016.

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  1. time is money

    time is money Registered User

    Jun 30, 2013
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    I have acquired a circa 1830 wooden works what I believe to be an Atkins and Downs ,probably? made by George Mitchell for them.. The label is very partial,however I have been able to i.d this by matching the parts of the label that are still there to photos of whole labels......It has carved 1/2 columns and a carved clam shell top. I have re glued and repaired the entire case. The movement that came with it appears to be original--NOT a groaner ,just a standard . I have inspected every single tooth ,on every gear, No breakage . The strike side ,for some reason had a spring wire wrapped on the lift for the strike regulator? That was all rusted out so I replaced it--Never saw a wood works with a spring wire but that solved the problem and the strike side works perfectly ..The main escapement? brass gear appears not to have play in it-doesn't wobble up and down consistently even when rotating. And the wooden pulleys for the weight lines seem to be free and the center holes do not appear to be egg shaped or worn....The holes in the verge tabs<? appear to not worn badly either. Problem I am having is that no matter how well I adjust the crutch and get it in beat it runs and has a good even beat but after a few minutes --stops?? All of the bushed ares appear to be o.k... I am not a wood works person-I have been maintaining brass movements for quite some time with very few problems. How do you clean the bushings on a wooden movement? I am assuming I need to take the movement apart to do so? and it appears that there is no way to adjust the verge post closer or further from the gear as in a brass movement?-Are there any publications that anyone would recommend I purchase about maintaining /repairing/ and setting up wood movements? Any advice would be gratefully appreciated
     
  2. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    #2 R. Croswell, Dec 19, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
    The 'helper spring' may have been added to compensate for some other issue that was causing strike stop problems. If everything else was perfect the helper spring would not be required but for now that part is working
    That's good to know. A loose pivot hole for the escape wheel (the 'brass gear') can cause escapement issues and is usually worn unless someone has bushed it. If it has ben bushed there may be a problem with the bushing being properly centered over the original hole.

    First of all wooden movements like this operate just like their brass counterparts and can be plagued by the same issues. The verge can be adjusted but I would check other issues first. It should only be adjusted if you know that is the problem and not as a trial and error exercise. The round brass 'button' that holds the verge anchor pin has two small nails set into two notches in the edge of the button. The adjustment is made by removing the nails and rotating the button to raise or lower the verge. Then the nails are replaced in the new location. Easy, yes? Well not usually so easy. First it is difficult to extract the nails without damaging the surrounding wood, then with the nails out one usually finds that the brass button is badly corroded into the hole and won't turn. One means of removing the button is to carefully drill a hole on the back side of the plate under the center of the button. Using a punch one can then loosen the button and perhaps begin easing the nails out enough to get a grip on them. If the nails went all the way through the wooden plate then sometimes they can be punched out a little from the back side of the plate. Now it only takes a tiny adjustment to make a big difference, but putting the nails back in the same holes will force the button back to the original position. So with the nails and the button removed, the nail holes must be plugged and new holes made after the adjustment is complete. Best to drill a pilot hole before nailing. So don't mess with this until you know an adjustment is needed and use care to get it exactly right.
    We need to know what kind of bushings your movement has - wood, brass, bone, ivory, or something else - . Yes, the movement has to come apart to do this but these are easy to take apart. Support the movement FACE DOWN on something like an empty tape spool after first removing the verge and the count wheel. Lift off the back plate. The hammer will stay with the back plate. Take pictures and notes first. Generally, pegging the pivot holes with a tooth pick should do the job. OK to dip the tooth pick in a little acetone.

    Check the condition of all the pivots. They must be clean, bright, and straight the same as in a brass clock. The pivots are just soft wire that was likely pressed into a hole that was not very true. The pivot wire was then bent straight so as to run true. Sometimes these get bent, and sometimes they are found to have slipped and turned so they are no longer true, which can cause the problems you are seeing. If your clock does have bushings that are not original then they may be incorrectly centered. Finally, old wooden wheels shrink in one direction more than the other and are often out of round. A little out of round isn't usually a problem, but if someone centered a bushing at one extreme position then when the wheel is rotated to the other extreme there may be a depthing issue.

    Best way forward is to disassemble and clean everything, check pivots for truth and smoothness etc. then put back each pair of wheels and make sure they run freely together, and finally the entire train. With the movement on it's back lift and drop each wheel to make sure it has end play and drops freely. Repeat with movement on its face.

    When putting everything back always place the parts on THE FRONT PLATE otherwise you will have a real fight getting the count lever in.

    Now if you know for sure that the strike train is timed correctly now, then it is helpful to mark two teeth on the second wheel and one tooth on the third wheel pinion between AND two teeth on the third wheel and 1 tooth on the fourth pinion between and put it back the same way. Sync between the 2nd and 3rd wheels ensures that the hammer will not be partly raised when the strike stops, sync between the 3rd and 4th wheels ensures that the stop pin on the 4th wheel will be in the right place to be arrested when the strike count is finished.

    Extreme Restoration by Tom Temple http://www.xrestore.com/index.htm

    RC

    Here is a sequence of pictures showing verge pin removal and adjustment, and timing marks for assembly. A rubber band helps hole this wheel and pinion in mesh. The paint is a bit of model acrylic paint and can be easily removed or left in place.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. time is money

    time is money Registered User

    Jun 30, 2013
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    Thank you!----All of this information will be very helpful...and thank you for the link. Odd ,I took a verge and crutch off of another wooden movement -put it on with a new suspension rod and the darn thing ran for over 24 hours. It ran very accurately (I got just plain lucky with the rod and the bob adjustment. Then all of a sudden it stopped. With a tiny bit of manipulation it would start and run for maybe 30 seconds and each time it stopped I could hear an odd noise from inside the movement -almost like a "boing" but not really -don't know how to put that noise into words....So I started checking and found that the wooden block that the brass strip that acts as the escapement bushing is mounted on was "side to side " a bit loose--just a very tiny bit. while starting the clock I gently put side pressure on the strip-first one way and then the other. one way stopped the clock and the other -it would start to run again..So rather than try to remove the block I took some loose wood glue (added a tiny bit of water to the glue and brushed it around the block several times .I hope that some absorbed behind so as to anchor the wood in place . After several hours and a blow dryer I started the clock and it has ,now run, for about two hours. I am in hopes that this was the main problem. If it continues to run for several days I will endeavor to take apart and ck the bushings ect...
     
  4. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    That wood block should be nailed and the nails probably need to be tightened. Sounds like the escapement adjustment is close to the critical edge. Let us know how it runs.
     

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